Mennonite Heritage Village

The Trek of Chivalrous Tractors

by Gary Dyck

This past weekend Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) hosted its annual Tractor Trek in support of the museum and Eden Health. Before they hit the roads, forty-one registrants and their heritage tractors had already raised over $20,000 (including pledges). For many it was their first community outing of the year. Laughter was everywhere. Camaraderie was also strong as seen in how the three generations interacted with each other throughout the day. For example, when the tractor of a teenager stalled near the front of the line, a retired farmer quickly pulled up beside him and gave him one end of his booster cables. Thank you to all who made MHV’s first outdoor event of the season a great success – it was great to see you all there!

There were also fifty chivalrous tractors that made the trek from North America to the Ukraine in the 1920s. These tractors helped to save lives and bring help to a community that desperately needed it. A hundred years ago, in 1920, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) was formed to help Mennonites in the Soviet Union who were straining under the burden of Russian Revolution, drought, typhus epidemics and waves of anarchy. Over 12,000 horses were no more; they either died from famine, were used for meat or stolen. That is why MCC sent them fifty Fordson Tractors. Imagine the relief of receiving a tractor that could prepare all the fields of your village. Dots of vibrant hope in fields that otherwise would have remained empty.

The MHV exhibit for this year is entitled ‘MCC 100 Years – A Century of Relief, Development, and Peace in the Name of Christ’. It tells the amazing story of what has been done through MCC and includes a Fordson Tractor from that era. The weighty themes of the exhibit are accentuated by squares of vibrant colour done in a classic quilt pattern. As many of you know MCC has provided thousands of quilts and blankets around the world. As I previewed the exhibit, I shed tears of hope more than once.

On June 24th we want to give you a sneak preview of the MCC 100 Years exhibit. Our Virtual Spring Gala Fundraiser will include presenters and videos from MCC. As we deal with Covid’s impact, both MHV and MCC need your support. Tickets are $25 and can be obtained by calling MHV or purchasing on our website.